SCOTLAND will be forced to make changes for their final RBS Six Nations game in Wales after Johnnie Beattie and Sean Lamont suffered serious injuries in the 19-17 defeat by France.
Both players were replaced in the first half, Beattie stretchered off with ankle damage and the winger following him off with a knee ligament injury. Prop Ryan Grant also suffered a hip/abdomen injury which will be assessed today, but he is doubtful, and another seven players are hurt but hopeful of recovering in time for this weekend.
Ryan Wilson and Max Evans replaced Beattie and Lamont respectively against France and are favourites to come in for Saturday’s game. Lamont’s absence could also open the door to young Edinburgh wing Dougie Fife. Prop Alasdair Dickinson was a late call-off due to injury at the weekend and could return if Grant is ruled out.
Coach Scott Johnson’s first task, however, will be to lift a squad who were cruelly denied by their own failings in the dying minutes against France.
Johnson agreed that errors cost Scotland, none more so than Duncan Weir’s pass that was intercepted by Yoann Huget for France’s solitary try just as Scotland homed in on a third score of their own. But Johnson insisted that Weir would bounce back this week. “We are paid professionals and have to acknowledge where we let ourselves down,” said Johnson.
“We had the ball and control of the game with four minutes to go, and we could have milked it out. We didn’t do that. That disappointed us.
“We showed good intent and that, when we get our set-piece right, we have a back division that can put sides away, but sometimes the decisions can be slightly out.
“That was a 14-point turnaround with that intercept. [If] We put them away there, that is game over.
“Duncy has to consolidate and carry the can at his pro team where he’s learning and has to start winning big games regularly, but he showed great resolve, character, with that [penalty] kick after the interception.”
As for the approach to the Cardiff match, with the reigning Six Nations champions seeking to bounce back from yesterday’s defeat by England, Johnson added: “We will go down with the same intent. We have some walking wounded and we will give guys an opportunity, but it won’t be with anything else than the intent to go down there and get a win.”